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‘I ran over and gave my ma a big hug’ – Katie McCabe reacts as Ireland’s World Cup dream takes shape

Katie McCabe Ireland WNT

A brilliant night for Katie McCabe and Ireland.

Ireland international Katie McCabe sunk to her knees on Thursday evening when Ireland sealed their place in a World Cup playoff spot, and she was not the only one to do so.

This was a monumental effort from Ireland, who had to bat away waves and waves of Finland attacks throughout the 90 minutes at Tallaght Stadium.

But to the relief of McCabe and her Ireland teammates, they were able to hold out – and most importantly deliver in front of a huge home crowd in Dublin 24.

Katie McCabe: “I’m in disbelief, to be honest…”

6,952 supporters made their way into Tallaght Stadium for the game, which was a considerable number less than the expected sell-out crowd.

However, to those in attendance, it was a night to remember on many levels.

“I’m in disbelief, to be honest,” McCabe said after the game. “I can and I can’t believe we’ve done it. I knew tonight was our night, having such a good squad, having some key players back in.

“It was unfortunate to miss Niamh Fahey, but we’ve done it for her, and we’ve got our names in the hat for a few weeks time for the play-offs.”

“It’s such a moment even for past players that were watching us in the crowd…”

Ireland have never reached a major tournament in women’s senior football, but they are riding the crest of a wave at the moment. That wave could very well see them over the line in the not so distant future.

And results like Thursday’s against Finland in front of a record home crowd, and the emotion associated with it is likely to give Ireland a new surge of momentum in their quest to end their wait in qualifying for a major tournament.

“I don’t even know what I did [at full-time],” McCabe adds. “It was just a relief. I’ve been working so hard for this since I came in six years ago.

“There are people who have been here 12 years longer than me. It’s such a moment even for past players that were watching us in the crowd.

“We met Paula [Gorham] and Linda [Gorman] in the week, two Women’s National Team legends and we’re doing it for them. They paved the way for us and for us to say that we reached a World Cup playoff is an amazing feeling.

“But it is another step, but we will enjoy the moment because we have never done it before.”

“I ran over and gave my ma a big hug..”

While it was a special night for the Girls in Green as a collective, for McCabe to achieve it at Tallaght Stadium was a significant moment on a personal front.

Now 26, McCabe grew up in Kilnamanagh, just a stone’s throw away from the Dublin 24 venue.

With that in mind, she was able to have all her family members in attendance to watch her, and her international teammates make history on the biggest stage yet.

“I ran over and gave my ma a big hug,” she added. “I was so happy to see my family there and them cheering us on.

“I used to roam about the Square over there when I was younger so to get to a World Cup playoff just a stone’s throw away from my house is pretty special.”

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